I have been a libertarian for a number of years and I’ve struggled with some of the morality, along with the world in which I live. Utopia, morals, values, philosophy, and the real world don’t always jive. I live in a single-income family who are your average American family. We even have the 2.3 kids (2 little girls and one on the way). I can’t imagine having a different life than I do right now.
I’ve worked my tail off to make sure that we didn’t need to be on food stamps or have any other type of assistance. Part of me feels ashamed to admit that I’ve used assistance in the past; I’m not sure that this should be the case. I’ve completely hated having my kids on Medicaid. I’ve actively despised calling and talking with health and welfare about food stamps. I did these things for the survival of my family, however, and I decided a long time ago that I was not going to live this way. We would work hard to elevate ourselves above the poverty line. It didn’t happen overnight, I took help from friends and family. Nevertheless, there is one area of assistance that I’m still dealing with today; A tax refund.
I won’t disclose too much information about my personal finances and I’m sure that will leave a lot to speculation in this article, however, what I will say is that with the size of my family and the amount of income I had, along with the accounting services, we always got a return.
I’ve been hesitant to accept the money, but if I’m being completely transparent, I’ve always accepted what the tax preparer has calculated for me. There’s a number of justifications I’ve made to it. I probably will continue to do so for some time. The main one that I gravitate toward is something my father told me: “The government takes more from me than I get back so consider it a gift from father to son.” It has helped ease the internal burden I have, but I still feel guilty. Another justification goes like this: we also have to be intellectually honest with ourselves and know that the government is not going to give that money back to the people that they stole it from. So, the option becomes do you let the government pocket it, or give it to you?
I believe through-and-through that taxation is theft. The logic is there and my mind will never be changed; but, to accept this form of hush money, am I a culprit as well?
I actively strive and push myself to not have to be on any of these types of programs. Still, the government taxes me near a 27% tax bracket. With an average size family, I do need that money. If we had no taxes then I would have been just fine without taking any kind of handouts. This seems like another problem the government has created and is now claiming to fix.
I think this is something that a lot of people deal with in the libertarian vein. We all know what’s right, but at the same time, we also have to survive. We are all self-interested.
The one thing I can claim is that I never held back in order to receive some sort of benefit or handout from the government, even when it came to a situation like losing $300 in food stamps because I made a $100 more a month. It has never been an incentive for me to stay on a government program. I’ve always strived to have more in my life. I know that’s the Republican view of what welfare is supposed to be, a helping hand, but unfortunately, the reality of welfare is the leftist model, in which everybody becomes dependent on government programs, whereby the state can has more power over the people.
I do not have a specific point that I am attempting to make in this piece. Rather, I just want to let anyone and everyone out there that might be going through this morality struggle that you’re not alone. If you’re not a leech and you’re constantly trying to advocate for the abolition of the very programs you’re benefitting from, and you are consistently trying to move up the ladder of life, I don’t see how you should be disparaged in any way. I don’t care if we get rid of tax returns. I hope we are able to get rid of taxation altogether; I think that will make life better for everyone. I thought it would make life better for everyone when I was making a lot less money, and I’ll think that it will make everyone’s life better when I’m making a lot more.
It doesn’t matter if I get money back from the government through a tax return or through a government program, I still one-hundred percent believe – full heartedly – that taxation is still theft.
You can read more from Rocky Ferrenburg on Think Liberty here.